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We’re Tarkin about a resurrection: Watch how ILM revived an iconic Star Wars villain for Rogue One

Contributed by
Sep 28, 2017

It's charming ... to the last.

Industrial Light & Magic has released an intriguing little video showing how certain effects in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were brought to life for over 1,700 shots within the film. In it, we see the sprawling ancient city of Jedha and the sure-to-become-iconic final battle on and above Scarif that includes actual unused footage from A New Hope.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of the three-minute reel, though, is how ILM brought the late Peter Cushing back to life — and into his classic role of Grand Moff Tarkin.

You can see stand-in Guy Henry, fully clad in a motion-capture suit, transform into Cushing at the 42-second mark, where his head was completely removed in post-production and replaced with a CG version of Cushing’s face.

When the film was first released, the re-creation kicked off a considerable conversation, with some lamenting about how unsettling it was, while others marveled at the degree to which technology can now resuscitate long-dead actors.

Cushing wasn't the only digital re-creation in the movie, of course. A younger Carrie Fisher provided the film's final — and biggest — punch.

Then again, it's just the latest advancement in technology that's been steadily pushing the boundaries — or some might say blurring them — of what's real and what's digitally manufactured. (Sometimes reactions have been mixed: Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, who've plunged into the performance-capture arena, have faced their fair share of skeptics.)

When it comes to the Star Wars universe, though, one thing's for sure: Now that the floodgates have been opened, fans will no doubt be keeping an eye on which other long-gone or long-forgotten denizens might pop up from that galaxy far, far away.  

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